Bluetooth 4.0 to reach devices in fourth quarter

The new specification will be used in more devices than its predecessors

The Bluetooth 4.0 wireless specification could start to appear in devices such as headsets, smartphones and PCs by the fourth quarter, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group said on Wednesday.

The new specification will be able to be used in lower-power devices than previous versions of the technology, including watches, pedometers, smart meters and other gadgets that run on coin-cell batteries, said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG standards-setting organization. Previous versions of Bluetooth could only go into devices with triple-A or larger-capacity batteries.

Bluetooth 4.0 includes a low-energy specification for transmitting small bursts of data over short ranges, in addition to the high-speed data transfer capabilities introduced with Bluetooth 3.0 last April.

More wireless capabilities are being added to gadgets like cameras, portable game players and tablet PCs to help them communicate with other devices, said Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research. Bluetooth 4.0 could be used to let those devices exchange low-level information without using much energy, he said.

"These protocols are designed to be very efficient because they are delivering small bits of data," Golvin said.

Despite the low-power option, users will notice only nominal battery-life improvements for long-range or continuous data communication, Foley said. Bluetooth 4.0 radios will consume roughly the same amount of power as Bluetooth 3.0 radios when used to sync smartphones with laptops or listen to music with wireless headphones, he said.

The new specification will carry the high-speed Wi-Fi feature introduced with Bluetooth 3.0. That allows devices to jump onto Wi-Fi 802.11 networks, where it can transfer data at up to 25Mbits per second.

Bluetooth competes with wireless technologies such as WiBro, UWB (Ultra Wideband) and Wi-Fi. But Bluetooth 4.0 is better-suited for short-range communications, as competing technologies expend a lot of energy to transmit data over similar distances. "They'd be like pulling out a cannon to kill a mouse," Golvin said.

The Zigbee wireless specification is another alternative to Bluetooth 4.0, but Bluetooth has the advantage of being widely deployed across devices, Golvin said. That gives it a head start over competing technologies.

Bluetooth is also an open standard, while most competing low-level technologies tend to be proprietary, Golvin said. For example, The Nike + iPod Sport Kit uses a proprietary technology to send exercise data from a shoe to an iPod or iPhone.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags bluetooth

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?